Preparing for a Child Custody Attorney Consultation
If you have a free initial consultation with a child custody attorney scheduled, you need to be prepared for the meeting. There are a number of points to bear in mind when preparing for this type of appointment:
- Understand the best interests of a child standard
- Prepare a list of primary questions
- Prepare a statement of custody pros and cons
- Organize documents regarding child-related expenses
- Schedule a child custody attorney consultation
One extremely important point that you need to familiarize yourself with as you proceed with a divorce involving children or a matter surrounding child custody or parenting time is what is known as the best interests of a child standard. The best interests of a child standard is the judicial paradigm a court uses when making decisions regarding custody and parenting time in a judicial proceeding.
Applying the best interests of a child standard in a custody matter, a court considers the specific circumstances, the specific facts surrounding a particular case. The court focuses on a variety of elements which commonly include:
- Mental, physical, and emotional fitness of the parents
- Living situation and environment of the parents
- Special needs (if any) of a child
- Parent that historically has been the primary child caretaker
This is how your position and that of your spouse will be evaluated when an issue of child custody is brought before a New Jersey judge.Prepare List of Primary Questions
In advance of a meeting with a child custody lawyer, prepare a list of important questions that you would like addressed. The initial consultation with legal counsel is an ideal opportunity to obtain answers to questions. Moreover, like many people, you may get at least somewhat wrapped up in the meeting itself and forget some questions you wanted to raise. This is a key reason why preparing a primary question list is useful.
Bear in mind that once your initial appointment commences, other questions will come to mind. Additional questions will flow from the conversation you have with a child custody lawyer. Therefore, while preparing a list of questions in advance is vital, do not constrain yourself rigidly to that list.
On another note, preparing a list in advance assists you in better focusing on the information being provided by legal counsel. You are not cogitating during the meeting trying to come up with something to ask next.
Finally, make notes of the discussion during a free initial consultation with a lawyer. This includes memorializing the answers to questions you ask during the appointment.Prepare Statement of Custody Pros and Cons
With the best interests of a child standard in mind, you will want to lay out for your benefit and for that of legal counsel why you feel the court should take your position in regard to child custody and those issues surrounding custody, including parenting time. One way to accomplish this is to prepare lists of pros and cons associated with the matter of child custody.
The list needs to be as comprehensive as possible. It needs to include the pros of why you should be the primary custodial parent of a child, if that is your objective. It also needs to list out the cons associated with why the other parent should not have primary custody.
As part of developing this statement of custody pros and cons, you also need to candidly shine the light on yourself. Your document needs to consider the matter from the vantagepoint of the other parent as much as is possible. This includes what you sincerely believe will be the other spouse’s position regarding custody pros and cons.Organize Documents Regarding Child-Related Expenses
An important issue associated with child custody is child support. Therefore, in advance of a preliminary meeting with a lawyer, make sure you organize those documents that are associated with child-related expenses. These might include such items as:
- Daycare costs (and receipts)
- Extraordinary healthcare expenses
- Extraordinary education or school expenses
- Health insurance premium for child paid by you
If you’re in need of the professional services of a child custody lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400. We will schedule a case evaluation and initial consultation with an experienced child custody attorney at our firm.